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Marie-Antoinette and the Last Garden at Versailles Hardcover – October 7, 2008

4.2 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"...an enthralling look at the doomed Queen and her gardens...Halard's haunting images capture the awesome splendor of this thoroughly unique place." ~The Peak of Chic

"Francois Halard's photographs of the grounds, including the grotto, the Belvedere and the Queen's Theater, are the first to be published in book form since the recent restoration of the estate." ~France Magazine

"Christian Duvernois and Francois Halard reveal the queen's softer side...showcasing her house and gardens at Le Petit Trianon." ~Traditional Home

"The author champions Marie-Antoinette, documenting the evolution of the queen and of the Petit Trianon....(which) has been lovingly restored and is presented here as the "Arcadian Idyll," seductively photographed by Francois Halard." ~Veranda

"Flipping the page is like taking another step further in the glorious maze of the palace at Versailles." ~Romantic Homes

"In his delightful book, landscape designer and historian Christian Duvernois notes that the passionate gardener can transform an ordinary piece of land into a sensitive portrait of an epoch and a major work of art." ~Town & Country

About the Author

Christian Duvernois is a member of the Friends of Versailles and has unprecedented access to the Versailles archives. He is a landscape designer based in New York. François Halard is a frequent photographer for American and French Vogue, World of Interiors, and House & Garden and the photographer of several books, including La Maison de Verre.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Rizzoli; First Edition edition (October 7, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0847830683
  • ISBN-13: 978-0847830688
  • Product Dimensions: 9.8 x 1 x 12 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,442,469 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By L. Stevens on September 19, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you are thinking of buying this book, buy it!!! You won't be disappointed. Beautiful, moody, evocative pictures. Amazing historical and biographical information. I have not visited Versailles, but plan to in the future. Now, after reading this book, I plan to spend enough time in MA's gardens to really appreciate how significant they are to the evolution of garden's of pleasure and what they say about the person who became a legend.

I want to address the comments made by the previous post:
1. The photographs in this book were take by an artist, at the very top of his field. If you have a love of home design you either know who Francoise Halard is or you have unknowingly been admiring his work. Trust me, he's amazing. In one of the best-selling design books of the last ten years, "Vogue Living Houses, Garden's, People" Halard photographed no less than 25 of the 36 homes featured, along side the photos of some of the biggest names in photography, names like Bruce Weber, Tim Walker,Karl Lagerfeld and Horst. To have your home/lifestyle photographed by Halard puts you in the category of the most stylish and elite of our times. There is no one better today to photograph the gardens of Marie Antoinette than Halard. The black and white photos are very intentionally developed by the hand of this artist. They are not "poorly developed, blurred or of bad publishing quality" at all. Trust me these photographs are BEAUTIFUL.

2.The previous post should be deemed to have questioable motives. The only other reviews they have are for the books by the author they suggest you buy instead of this book.
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Format: Hardcover
Marie-Antoinette is something of an enigma, some feel she is the misunderstood tragic heroine of the Ancient Regime and some feel she is that Austria wh*re, who may or my not have said, let them eat cake, and spent France into Revolution, I feel she is probably all of this and more. One thing is for certain, she held herself and her family in honor as she took the guillotine, she died with grace befiting her stature, even if those around her threw things at her and called her unspeakable things. As for this book, it is very good, the images are well presented, some in black and white, others in color, and the text is informative without being too dry or scholarly. I appreciated the attention to such buildings as the glorious Belvedere and the gorgeous Pavillion, these two esquisite small buildings often get lost in the spendor that is Versailles, but they are actually two of the most beautiful stuctures on the Palace grounds. A few buildings such as the Petit Palais get sort of short shrift, but they have been covered extensively in other books and really are more thought of in the context of Louis XV and Pompadour. Overall, a good book that covers some new ground, fine images and interesting text make it a fitting homage to Antoinette and her small sanctuary at Versailles.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have been to Versailles several times and visited the gardens surrounding the Trianons but nothing prepared me for the delight to be found in this fascinating book about the creation of the gardens in general, and specifically the design schemes and influence of Marie Antionette.

One is able to follow the earliest forms of the gardens created by Louis XIV, Louis XV and Madame Pompadour, with concerns for the botanical collections and for "fastasical glades and bosquets" so popular during their eras, progressing on to the innovative design ideas brought about with the assistance of talented collaborators Marie Antionette gathered around her to achieve her goals for a much more atypical garden than had been previously formed. Here we have a nod to the bucollic spaces of the English garden combined with her love of fragrant blooms and rare specimans, and for her love of theatricals and garden parties. The lovely Theatre, the delightful Belvedere and the Temple of Love, bear witness to her love for "vistas" viewed from various locations throughout the gardens. The Alpine Garden, comprised of rock formations and including flora which could be found growing in the Alps, created an adventurous and otherworldly element to experience and enjoy by those fortunate to be invited guests of the Queen. The Dairy, vegetable gardens and farm, allowed the Queen and her guests to experience a simplicity and relaxation far removed from the strict rules of the court which was both novel and enlightening for the time.

One is made aware of the sensibilies of the Queen and how she chose to effect her ideas.
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